ASFO 2022–05–07

Who pays for your power? What have we learned from Chernobyl, and what does that have to do with airlines? How do we make the human the focus of a machine civilization? Where and when can you watch my newly–transferred films? And why do I keep buying light bulbs? All this and more in a sizzling new episode with an experimental audio setup!

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ASFO 2022–04–23

An exceptionally rambly show without proper planning or any kind of theme. Mostly I talked about my latest film transfer, and the great work of Bazalgette in creating the London sewer system. Could you really get away, today, with naming a sewage pump after a member of the Royal family? Hopefully next week will be more organized, although I say that pretty often.

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ASFO 2022–04–16

Whale Oil! It’s the energy policy equivalent of snake oil, and wow is there plenty of it circulating right now. (No whales were harmed in the making of this broadcast.) Also, the Wall Street Journal continues to baffle, disgust, and enrage me by turns ; and I consider the implications of collective electricity and water supplies in terms of personal liberty ― getting in some digs at the government of Santiago, Chile, and an endorsement of passenger rail along the way. More to come on that topic, undoubtedly.

ASFO 2022–04–09

What will the people do with the atomic power? asks my grandmother. It turns out that this is related to the vital question of what is going on in France. First time as tragedy, second time as farce : the lights are going out, all across Europe. Also a parable (or metaphor if you like) concerning a seed, and a greeting to some friends of mine who went out to eat.

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ASFO 2022–04–02

Two definitions of power, McJobs in the context of the social implications of energy policy, and the perennial question “what does the House of Thurn und Taxis have to do with the regulated utility model, and what can that teach us about alternatives to profit–maximizing capitalism?” (Also why there are special coffee mugs for nuclear power plant refueling outages, and an update on the film transfer situation.)

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ASFO 2022–03–26

Reverend Onan Canobite of the Church of the SubGenius says, “how about we stop funding problems here on Earth, and explore space instead, how about that?” I’m afraid that’s about as coherent as this week’s show gets, but hey, it’s a good message. I’ll try to be more coherent next week.

ASFO 2022–03–19

Starting (somehow) from a British condiment known as clotted cream, I discuss various world problems which I would not advise trying to solve with nuclear energy or space travel, or for which I have no particular solution, including French pension funding and the supply of paper in India. Of course, I end up circling back to the topic of the current fuel stringency, the absurdity of measures being advocated to deal with it, and the possibilities of a global Messmer Plan.

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Century of the Atom

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the United States Atomic Energy Commission released at least six records : three volumes entitled Let’s Talk About the Atom, one entitled Let’s Talk About Energy, one entitled Atomic Year 25, and one entitled Century of the Atom.

While the others were produced for radio broadcast use, this last was given away to visitors to the US exhibit at the 1971 (Fourth) Geneva Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy, known as the “Atoms for Development” conference. The record, narrated by Chet Huntley and Glenn Seaborg, tells the story of the development of atomic science and nuclear energy, beginning with the work of John Dalton in Britain, the founder of modern atomic theory. The voices of JJ Thomson, Lord Rutherford, Albert Einstein, and other noteworthy scientists can be heard. The double LP in its gatefold jacket was accompanied by a lavishly–illustrated book, which transcribes the dialogue from the record and translates it into French, Spanish, and Russian, and also by a wall–chart timeline, all enclosed in a slipcase box.

I have been making an attempt to acquire these records (and whatever similar ones may exist), as I have with atomic energy public information films, and printed materials of similar character. You can listen here to my transcription of this one. Each side is only about 12 minutes, so the two platters fit easily into a single hour time slot. It has not been cleaned up, although I will presumably do that in the future.

ASFO 2022–03–12

Not my most edifying, informative, or entertaining show ever, by a long chalk. It’s thirty minutes of sheer, uninterrupted “something has gone horribly wrong with the humans on this planet and I need to vacate, soonest.”

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ASFO 2022–03–05

The rent is too damn’ high! But what does that have to do with the crisis in Ukraine? I have ideas about that. (Also, the people on this planet are insane, and I want a billion dollars so I can leave for elsewhere.)

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